I have a confession, embarrassing for a cook. Basically, for most of my life, I had a hyper concern that all foods, herbs and spices harbor frightening, scientific properties that will cause them to react with one another upon heating, chilling… or merely touching one another… that could prove deadly, unless managed by recipes that allow you to interact with and consume food in relative safety.
Basically, I couldn’t mix up recipes, because I thought it might kill me.
I have almost entirely overcome this problem since I got married. It has been quite liberating, actually, adding and omitting elements of a recipe at will just to appease my own tastebuds.
The main area that I still find a bit nervewracking, I will admit, is in spices and herbs. I hear these vague things like vanilla is deadly in large quantities and suddenly I analyze how much vanilla makes it into each cookie in a batch and calculate how many I can eat without ODing and ending up on the floor. It usually proves a very effective portion control method.
But I’m learning. Granted, there was that one time that I misread a recipe when company was coming, added 5 teaspoons of ground ginger to my teriyaki chicken and couldn’t eat it once dinner rolled around because SOMEONE had to be alive to drive everyone else to the hospital… but we’re getting there, one dash of chipotle powder at a time.
In the end, my historically bland pizzas have experienced as much liberation as my soul has. And today, home late from work, tired, cranky, with a tired, cranky husband and a fridge full of leftover lasagna ingredients, I knew just what to do.
To start, stretch out your pizza dough (I am highly partial to Trader Joe’s 99-cent dough :). Mix half a tub of ricotta with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, some garlic powder, salt, lots of black pepper, sweet basil, and oregano. Spread thickly on the dough. Follow with tomato sauce and finish generously with mozzarella. Bake at 400 for… well, until it’s done. This would be good with Italian sausage, to further the “lasagna” idea!